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Taylor Swift makes history at Country Music Awards
By Vernell Hackett
NASHVILLE (Reuters) - Teenage singing sensation Taylor Swift claimed a piece of music history on Wednesday when she became the youngest artist ever to win the coveted title of Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Awards.
Swift, 19, also claimed awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, Music Video of the Year for her song "Love Story" and Album of the Year with "Fearless."
"I'll never forget this moment because at this moment everything that I ever wanted has just happened to me," a tearful Swift said when accepting her award.
The fan favorite also had some fun at the expense of rap star Kanye West, who last month interrupted her acceptance speech at the MTV Music Video Awards by rushing onto the stage and telling the audience that R&B star Beyonce -- and not Swift -- should have won best female video.
"I want to thank every single person here tonight for not running up on stage during this speech," Swift said when picking up her trophy for female vocalist.
After the show, Swift told reporters she would always be grateful. "I feel so lucky. This has been a fun night," she said.
She won Entertainer of the Year over some of the biggest names in country music, including Kenny Chesney, who had claimed the honor for three straight years heading into Wednesday's ceremony in the capitol of country, Nashville.
The Country Music Awards are one of the year's top honors for county and western singers.
In other awards, Darius Rucker, frontman for pop band Hootie and the Blowfish, was given the CMA's New Artist of the Year award for his first country album, "Learn to Live," which has sold over 1 million copies.
Rucker performed his song "Alright," running into the audience as he sang, and backstage he talked to reporters about being only the second African American to win a major individual CMA award. The first was Charley Pride.
"I'm proud to be that guy who picked up where Charley left off," Rucker said, "But I'm a musician. I want to sing and all that other stuff is for you guys to talk about."
Last year's winner of the New Artist award, the trio Lady Antebellum, picked up two CMA awards this time around, best Vocal Group and Single of the Year for "I Run To You."
Singer Brad Paisley also claimed two awards for Male Vocalist of the Year and Musical Event of the Year for his "Start A Band" duet with Keith Urban.
Sugarland took home their third consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year award, and Song of the Year honors went to "In Color," written by Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto.
(Additional reporting by Patricia Harris; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Sandra Maler)